Harborside Restaurant is a great option for waterfront dining in Central Florida, located on Winter Haven's Lake Shipp

Restaurants in Central Florida

Your taste buds have a sense of adventure, too. So what’ll it be? Napkin-obliterating BBQ? Classic high-end steakhouse fare? From upscale elegance to down-home grub, Central Florida’s food scene is sure to please everyone from the culinary curious to the chicken-fingers-only crowd. Try something delicious at these restaurants in Central Florida.

Plan A Trip

Lakeside Dining

With more than 550 lakes dotting Polk County, locals and visitors alike all have their favorite lakeside dining spot. In Winter Haven, with full-length windows and a lakeside patio, Harborside Restaurant is a modern American steakhouse, seafood and oyster bar that features only the finest cuts of dry aged meat and daily delivered fresh fish. Also in Winter Haven, with its neighborhood restaurant feel and its location on the shores of Lake Ned, no place epitomizes casual lakefront dining more than Harry’s Old Place. Situated on the shores of scenic Lake Pierce in Lake Wales, Cherry Pocket Steak & Seafood Shak provides a perfect blend of entertainment, scenery and fresh seafood.

Fine Dining

If you’re headed to Winter Haven or Lakeland for a romantic weekend, or if your kids have a sophisticated palate, book a reservation at our most popular fine dining restaurants including Arabellas Ristorante and Nutwood in Winter Haven, or Nineteen61, Bay Street Bistro and Scarpa’s Italian in Lakeland. In 2017, Arabellas Ristorante was named in OpenTable’s Most Romantic Florida Restaurants list.

Local Favorites

From kid-friendly restaurants and barbecue restaurants recognized by Garden & Gun Magazine, to Gastropubs and TripAdvisor’s #1 restaurant in Lakeland, here are a few of our local favorites: Andy’s Drive-in Restaurant & Igloo, Fire Restaurant and Bistro Pizza in Winter Haven, Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille, Red Door Lakeland and Café Zuppina in Lakeland, and Peebles Bar-B-Q in Auburndale.

Sweets & Baked Good

Cookies, cakes, pies, and CRUFFINS are just a few of the goodies you can find at the various artisanal bakeries located in Polk County. But don’t fear – if you’d rather gelato or perhaps a Turkish coffee, we’ve got you covered too. Our local favorites include Born & Bread Bakehouse (Cruffins) and The Market at Café Zuppina in Lakeland. If you’re on the east side of Polk County, go to Gourmet Goodies Bake Shop in Winter Haven or Lavender n’ Lace Tea Room in Lake Alfred.

Coffee Shops

You can visit chain coffee shops anywhere, so be sure to experience one of Polk County’s locally owned shops during your Central Florida vacation. Concord Coffee in Lakeland is a roaster and coffee shop, Hillcrest Coffee features a variety of locally roasted beans including Ethos Roasters, while Black & Brew Coffee House & Bistro in Lakeland brews locally roasted Patriot Coffee. Ethos Roasters is also served at N+1 Coffee in Winter Haven.

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Blackburn’s BBQ

Blackburn's BBQ

Blackburn's BBQ in Eagle Lake serves oak smoked pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork and beef…

Address: 169 5th St
Eagle Lake, FL 33839

Phone: (863) 287-9975

blackburnbbq@gmail.com

Jimbo’s Pit Bar-B-Q

Jimbo's Pit Bar-B-Q

Since 1964, Jimbo's Pit Bar-B-Q in Lakeland has been serving smoked ribs, chicken, pork, delicious…

Address: 1215 E Memorial Blvd
Lakeland, FL 33801

Phone: 863-683-3777

jimbospitbarbq@gmail.com

Peebles Bar-B-Q

Man looking at racks of ribs cooking inside barbecue pit at Peebles Bar B Que in Auburndale, FL

Since 1947, Peebles Bar-B-Que in Auburndale has been mastering exceptional barbecue and part of their…

Address: 441 Dixie Hwy
Auburndale, FL 33823

Phone: 863-967-3085

Essoc11@aol.com

Smokin Jim’s House of Barbeque

Smokin Jim’s House of Barbeque

Smokin Jim's House of Barbeque serves award winning barbeque in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. Enjoy…

Address: 3615 Havendale Blvd
Auburndale, FL 33823

Phone: 863-965-0230

JimRabe@msn.com

Mission BBQ

Mission BBQ

Mission BBQ serves authentic barbecue made from the freshest ingredients, and served in a patriotic…

Address: 4014 S Florida Ave
Lakeland, FL 33813

Phone: 863-225-8433

Carter’s Bar-B-Que

Carter’s Bar-B-Que

Carter’s Barbeque is a family owned restaurant that has been around for the last decade…

Address: 709 E Canal St
Mulberry, FL 33860

Phone: 863-425-1983

Schack Bar-B-Que

Schack Bar-B-Que

Schack Bar-B-Que is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Schack Bar-B-Que is near LEGOLAND Florida…

Address: 3000 Cypress Gardens Rd
Winter Haven, FL 33884

Phone: 863-324-1537

Polk City BBQ Company

Polk City BBQ Company

Polk City BBQ Company serves meats by the pound, piece or slab. Beef brisket, spare…

Address: 221 Commonwealth Ave N
Polk City, FL 33868

Phone: 863-874-4740

info@lakelandbbq.com

Low and Slow Smokehouse

Tray of BBQ meat from Low and Slow Smokehouse.

Low and Slow Smokehouse is a North Carolina style BBQ restaurant serving locally sourced meats.

Address: 1853 E. Memorial Blvd.
Lakeland, FL 33801

Phone: (863) 210-5432

Lakeland@lowandslow.us

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